2018 Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games

Clan Forrester once again attended the 2018 Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games. Representing Clan Forrester this year were Nathan E. & Susan Forrister, Nathan W. & Tammy Forrester, Ben & Laura Forrester, and Mr. John Grant. Several Forrester, Forrest, and Foster descendants were entertained this year in our tents. Clan Forrester sends a huge thanks to Beth Terry and all volunteers who make these games outstanding each year.

THE ISLAND OF BLAIRSVILLE

Directly behind the Clan Forrester site is a natural island in the midst of the clear mountain stream. A tradition of claiming the island was started the ladies of Clan MacNeil. They first claimed the island as Colonsay, the ancestral home of Clan Chief Archibald MacNeil. Colonsay house was completed by the MacNeil family in 1722. Of course, Clan Forrester disputed this claim, citing all of Scotland, Ireland, and Great Britain were after all islands – hence the British Isles.  Nathan E. Forrister, of Clan Forrester, especially has a claim since his autosomal composition is over 96% Orcadian according to Eurogenes v2 K15. Clan Forrester further  the claim through the marriage of Jean St. Clair to Sir John Forrester. Jean St. Clair was, of course, from the Earl line of Orkney. Also one of our lineages is closely related to the Sinclair Herdmanston group from Lothian Scotland – just a day’s sailing excursion from Orkney. A compromise was reached – the northeast portion would be Orkney and the southwest portion would be Colonsay.

SOLE OWNERSHIP

We love the MacNeil ladies at Clan Forrester. We consider them great friends and spirited Clansmen. However, they have not been in attendance for the past 2 years. Clan Forrester claimed sole ownership of the island due to abandonment by the MacNeil’s. Clan Forrester took undisputed possession of the island in 2017. This history must be understood to continue the tale.

ISLAND INTERLOPER

We noticed a new castle on our island upon arrival Friday afternoon. Beth Terry came by and informed us Clan MacCallum/Malcolm had erected the edifice on the island. MacCallum could produce no title or sasine writ to support their claim. We knew they had not contacted us concerning ground lease for the erection of a structure.

INSPECTORS, TAX APPRAISERS & COLLECTORS

These were among the official duties of Forresters of the Crown. Coincidently, Nathan E. Forrister is a building inspector and Nathan W. Forrister is a tax appraiser. Nathan E. conducted a thorough inspection of the edifice and found it non-compliant with 2015 International Building Codes Standards. 

The following violations were noted:

(1) The three story structure was not sprinkled and clearly in violation of the 75 foot ingress/egress code
(2) A building of such scale must have divided zones with 2 hour fire rating..
(3) The environmental impact was far more egregious since no sanitary sewer or septic system was evident and no health department permit was found.
(4) No level three soil analysis was conducted to ascertain adequate support of the building or if the ground would percolate.
(5) No footing/pier inspections were ordered during the excavation phase of construction either.
(6) No attachments of engineered drawings concerning width and depth of excavations was found on site.
With so many violations stacking up, Nathan E. had no choice but to find the building unfit for human habitation, shut it down, and condemn the structure in accordance with guidelines set forth by the GA Dept. of Community Affairs.
Since proper permits were not obtained by the MacCallums, Nathan W. had no way of knowing how long the structure had been completed. A fair market value was determined and Clan MacCallum was found in arrears of taxes for the years 2017 & 2018. This further complicated matters as a lien and levy could now be placed on the structure and sold to the highest bidder on the Union County Courthouse steps. Three other Clans approached the Forresters for information concerning the upcoming tax sale. Beth Terry acted as liaison and informed Clan MacCallum of the problems and possibilities. Beth was most helpful as she taped off the surrounding area to keep the public from harm while a remedy was reached.

DISCUSSION AND AGREEMENT

Through much deliberation, an agreement was finally reached.

(1) Clan MacCallum would remove the deficient structure at their expense.
(2) Permits were issued for a new structure four times the size of the present edifice.
(3) Fair market value of the proposed new structure was estimated at four times higher than the first attempt – so four times the annual tax would be collected.
(4) Taxes on the new structure would be assessed at 60 merks per annum or a bottle of McCallum’s blended Scotch.
(5) Ground lease signing rights and penalty interest on back taxes would include a bottle of McCallum’s 18 year old single malt Scotch.

CLAN FORRERSTER FRIEND FOR LIFE

The Forresters have long been businessmen holding a pragmatic world view and a knack for solving problems. David Curran of Clan MacCallum is such a man as well. Everyone involved had a great attitude and a big laugh as the “dispute” was argued and a settlement was achieved.
David is a friend of Clan Forrester for life and is welcome in our tent wherever we may travel. He is also one of the best story tellers of Clan history I’ve encountered in quite some time. David is a great asset to Clan MacCallum/Malcolm and to the Scots Clan community as a whole. We are honored to call him friend.

Nathan E. Forrister
Clan Forrester Society
Council Member
DNA Consultant